Nick Bussell To Drive For J.L. West Motorsports
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004 -- J.L. West Motorsports will field a car for American Nick Bussell during the team's first season of competition in the Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù in 2005.
Bussell, a 21-year-old from Ionia, Mich., will drive the No. 21 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. His first opportunity to drive the car will come Jan. 18 during an Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in preparation for the 14-race schedule which begins March 6.
Bussell competed in Formula Renault 2000 and Fran-Am 2000 for the past two years following an impressive career in karting. Bussell won the 2002 World Karting Association Triple Crown with national championships in three classes. He also was the SKUSA ProMoto Formula S1 world champion in 2002.
"Nick has been working for us for about seven months," said team owner Jeff West, who also owns Indy Performance Composites, a company that builds all of the camera pods for the IRL and performs carbon work for various IRL teams and manufacturers. "He's enthusiastic, a real go-getter and has demonstrated an ability to win on the racetrack. I'm looking forward to putting him in the car."
"I'm looking forward to competing in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series," Bussell said. "This is a great opportunity to go forward a step. The best opportunity for a young, American driver in open-wheel racing is the IRL."
J.L. West Motorsports, which is co-owned by Jeff and Laura West, announced its participation in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series earlier this month.
Jeff West grew up in upstate New York and spent 15 years driving a variety of race cars, including supermodifieds, midgets and NASCAR Busch Grand National series cars. West started a fabricating business in New York in 1986.
West's association with the IRL began in 2001 when he relocated to Indianapolis. West worked for Heritage Motorsports and Cheever Racing before founding Indy Performance Composites with partner Greg Strydesky.
Formed in July 2002, the Menards Infiniti Pro Series is an essential stepping stone for drivers and teams striving to reach the pinnacle of open-wheel racing in America, the IRL IndyCar® Series. Two previous champions, A.J. Foyt IV (2002) and Mark Taylor (2003), along with 2002 Futaba Freedom 100 winner Ed Carpenter, competed in the IndyCar Series on a full-time basis in 2004.
Infiniti Q45 engines power Dallara Automobili chassis built for the series, with Firestone Firehawk tires used exclusively on all cars. The V8 engines produce approximately 450 horsepower for the single-seat winged chassis, providing an ideal training ground for the 650-horsepower, single-seat winged cars of the IndyCar Series.
The 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series season begins on March 6, 2005 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The IndyCar Series begins its 10th season of competition with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 6 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN and the IMS Radio Network.